18th August

How to handle an exam like IBPS?
 
 
The first and foremost point to be remembered while preparing for an exam like IBPS is that it is not as much about your talent/knowledge as it is about your temperament.
 
What is temperament?
 
Suppose you sit in the exam hall, close your eyes 2 minutes before the paper is handed over to you, do your prayers, and get ready for the battle. And when the paper comes in your hand, the first responses your body displays are these- 'stressed eyes', 'ultra-fast breathing', 'heating of the forehead' etc. And these thoughts start crossing your mind- "Oh my God! I did not read Permutation & Combination in Quant, or the Sentence Correction in English, or the Seating Arrangement in Logical Reasoning! I am gone!".
 
If you are a person who, after seeing some tough questions, will react in the way picturized above, then there are good chances that, more than knowledge, you lack the temperament this exam is looking for. Still, no need to worry. You can always work on it and improve it. 
 
Temperament means the ability to behave coolly even in face of adversity. Have you ever observed M S Dhoni? Even when 50 runs are to be scored off 20 balls, you closely see his facial expressions. Few people in the world can remain as calm in such situations. And that's why MSD succeeds in 80% of the cases, where 99% of the people will fail. The difference is of just one thing: 'temperament'.
 
Thus, if you can learn to maintain your temperament in the exam (or in life), then you too will emerge victorious, for sure.
 
 
Why temperament matters here more?
 
 
Exams like IBPS, SSC-CGL, CAT etc. ask questions that can be answered by a 10th-standard student, if given ample time to solve. Still, these questions are asked to students like you who have cleared their graduations. Why? 
 
The reason is simple:
 
These exams check if the student can solve these questions even after he sees the hands of the clock hanging on the front wall moving continuously. If yes, then they have got the right candidate for the job.
 
If we dig deeper as to why these exams are checking what they are checking, then here is the answer:
They are basically trying to gauge if the person can handle pressure in his job. The work of a PO does not require any knowledge of Einstein's theories, but just that the person occupying this job must be good enough to handle any pressure that comes his way. And hence the pressure in the exam!
 
So, developing this pressure-handling ability is the key to clearing an exam like IBPS. 
 
However, temperament has to be duly complemented with other exercises that are discussed further in this article. You must remember that temperament alone will take you nowhere. As an example, unless you regularly solve as many questions as possible, you won't be able to feel confident. Unless you learn to solve questions in the given time-frame, you won't be able to finish paper on time! 
 
Many students who clear these exams (IBPS, SBI PO etc.) dedicate their success to these crucial factors:
 
1. Proper Guidance: 
 
A right guide is important for such exams. The so-called hi-fi coachings are less interested in giving the right direction, and more in projecting themselves as grand and hi-fi ones, presenting a more-than-real picture of the exam. They do this in order to prove that they are really adding great value to the students, by making them prepare for a 'tough' exam. 
 
Imagine, if they had presented the reality that IBPS is not a tough exam, and it just checks the temperament, then would any student go to them? No! They have their marketing teams that make sure that the fear of toughness of exams is maintained. Else, their shop will not be able to sell their product. 
 
So, choosing the right guide for these exams is a very crucial factor in success. If you have your basics in place, you can prepare without coaching also. Coaching is not at all compulsory for these exams. 
 
2. Regular practice of quality questions:
 
Coachings mostly club together questions from one book or the other and hand them over to students for practising. This is not the right preparation strategy from a student's perspective. A student should solve questions that are fit for a particular exam only. Practice is one of the major constituents of preparation, and it can't be taken lightly. It has to be customized according to an exam and its needs. Questions that are asked in IBPS are of a different flavour from the ones asked in SBI's PO exam. Unless the student understands this important point, he will keep on solving any random question that the coaching throws at him and in the end, feel dejected, after not performing up-to-the-mark. 
 
3. Mock-tests:  
 
Quality mock-tests are indispensable for these exams. The other important parameter of these tests is the ranking relative to other test-givers. Unless you know where you stand relative to others, you can never judge how good or bad you are doing relative to others. Relative ranking gives us a great picture of where you stand and what your focus areas are. Only giving mock-tests and knowing the rank is not at all sufficient. It is HUGELY important to analyze the mock-tests after its solution is available. Each and every question needs to be thoroughly analyzed and a note should be made as to why a certain question went wrong, why a certain question was not attempted, what guesses could have been made to score mark in certain easy questions etc. Without this type of detailed analysis, your mock-tests will not give the required results.
 
Good luck!
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This is the first in the series of articles we will publish for the benefit of our students. The next in the series will cover 'Strategy' for the the exam hall. In that article, we will see how to handle a particular type of question in the exam hall, how much time to be given to it, selecting a particular question for solving or leaving it altogether etc. This will be a very useful article. Do not miss it.
 
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